A Healthy Sense of Humour = A Happier Work Environment

Historically the world of work has often been an environment where professionals left their jokester antics at the door, donned their caffeine-laced poker face, and ploughed through the day with all the methodical seriousness of a bulldozer. Much has changed in recent years. Hierarchies are fast becoming a concept of the past, culture has stolen the spotlight once centred on salary and in many workspaces it is okay – if not encouraged – to have a jolly good laugh with your colleagues.

Many consultants will agree that a healthy sense of humour is essential in the highly interactive and upbeat world of recruitment. We show you how to find humour with your colleagues, and thus build a sense of camaraderie, as well as a happier work environment.

1. Test the Waters

Although the occasional slip of the tongue may not be the end of the world, it could be the end of your likability at the office. For this reason, it is advisable to observe your colleagues and find common ground in which you can share humorous experiences and stories. This doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice your own humour for others, but rather that you should exercise it in ways that foster camaraderie rather than alienation. For example, you could try a light-hearted comment or your own brand of wit at your next appropriate opportunity. It may go completely over someone’s head—but it may also elicit an equally funny response or facilitate creativity, as you create a fertile, safe ground for thinking out of the proverbial box.

2. Build Trust, Camaraderie and Honesty

The saying, ‘Know your audience’ rings true when establishing comical rapport with your team, as they will be more likely to trust you if you use humour that is inclusive and speaks to the daily experiences you share with them. When you use humour effectively, you project that there is a real person behind the routine, professional business façade. A manager who infuses laughter among the team engenders an open and honest work environment.

3. Share the Spotlight

Nobody likes a self-centred prat who hogs the stage. However, many individuals make the mistake of neglecting to share the comedic glory with others. You don’t want to be known as the only employee with the ‘witty gene,’ so let others shine, too. The goal is to be more productive, not engage in one-upmanship joke-a-thon.

4. Use Self Deprecation to put others at Ease

Research has shown that self deprecating humour is instrumental in encouraging engagement and connectivity between colleagues. An occasional self-deprecating joke or amusing anecdote can shift a dicey dynamic in any meeting. There are few better ways to break the tension barrier. Knowing that a co-worker has the ability to be light-hearted establishes a fertile ground for better problem solving.

5. Don't make a Joke at another's Expense

Although it may be tempting to take a pot-shot at a co-worker’s shoddy hair cut after their lunchtime trip to the barber, the unpleasant habit of putting others down in the attempt to elevate yourself is not something that will go down well with colleagues in the long run. A good rule of thumb is that if you think your joke might be at someone else’s expense, then it probably is. Although a clever, light-hearted comment will often boost morale, it’s important that you don’t alienate others. So if you do laugh at someone else, perhaps share how you once made a fool out of yourself in a similar manner.

6. Be Inclusive

Although the image of a sexist CEO spouting wise cracks about the PA’s cleavage may have been binned among everything else that was wrong with 70s sitcoms, some managers still make the mistake of using humour ineffectively at best, and offensively at worst. It’s important to be inclusive when exercising humour, as this will also open up conversations about diversity, providing people with an opportunity to share their experiences and brainstorm possible solutions to encourage greater diversity and better performance in business overall.

7. Replace Stress with Laughter

Laughter is the best remedy, and this is especially applicable when turning a stressful work situation into an opportunity to laugh. Whether you’ve been stood up via a passive aggressive email from a cheeky candidate or hastily stumbled into your first day meeting with your shirt inside out, it is possible see the lighter side of situations at the office. Laughing at stressful situations will make the workplace more relaxing and create a better sense of calm around you.


We want you on our team!

Are you an experienced recruiter looking for your next role within the industry? Search Consultancy is a nationwide recruitment agency that offers a wide range of jobs from a variety of specialist industry sectors. If you feel you would be an ideal addition to our team, please do not hesitate to contact our internal recruitment manager, Peter Barry by email – [email protected] Take a look at our recruitment consultant jobs that we have on offer here.


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